Could Sunlight Solve The Global Water Crisis?
Water stress and scarcity is a huge problem, one that will every corner of the globe – and its effects are already being felt in numerous countries around the world.
Climate change, population growth and pollution are all having an impact on freshwater resources and since the amount that is available (currently less than three per cent) is shrinking all the time, it’s essential that we all work together to find solutions to the challenge.
And it seems that sunlight could, in fact, be the answer to our prayers, with new research from the University of South Australia revealing that highly efficient solar evaporation could derive freshwater from seawater, brackish or contaminated water.
As it stands now, there are 1.42 billion people (including 450 million children) living in areas of high or extremely high water vulnerability – and it’s predicted that this number will only grow over the coming decades.
But this new study indicates that water stress could be eliminated for millions of people, including those in some of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged communities. The process has succeeded in delivering sufficient daily fresh drinking water for a family of four from a single square metre of source water!
The system features a very efficient photothermal structure that sits on the surface of water sources, converting sunlight to heat and focusing energy on the surface to rapidly evaporate the uppermost portion of the liquid.
It’s easy to construct and deploy the system, and it’s also easy to maintain, since the way the photothermal structure has been designed prevents salt and other contaminants from building up on the source water surface.
This means that the system could be deployed in places where other purification and desalination systems would perhaps be financially and operationally impractical.
Lead researcher associate professor Haolan Xu said: “In recent years, there has been a lot of attention on using solar evaporation to create fresh drinking water, but previous techniques have been too inefficient to be practically useful.
“We have overcome those inefficiencies, and our technology can now deliver enough fresh water to support many practical needs at a fraction of the cost of existing technologies like reverse osmosis.”
If you’re concerned about the planet’s water resources, there’s a lot that you can do as a business to help make a significant difference, protecting freshwater for future generations to come.
Gaining an understanding of why water efficiency is important is a good first step to take and from there you can start to think about how you can best go about reducing your water usage and consumption across your premises.
This is something that the team here at H2o Building Services can certainly help with, so get in touch with us today to see how we can boost the green credentials of your business now and well into the future.